The need for speed caught Mike Werner at a very young age. Having lived in 23 countries and getting behind the wheel of different types of engines all over the world, Mike found a passion with motorcycles. Today, he is the author of the popular blog, Motorbiker.org, which is a premiere destination for motorcycle information and news on the web. From the Dakar race in Africa to the roads of the Austrian Dolomite mountains, Mike plans to ride the world on two wheels. Now with Pinterest, see how Mike discovers his next destination to start his engines.
Can you give us a bit of background on yourself and how you fell into motorcycles as a passion and hobby?
I was born in The Netherlands, but quickly moved out (I was three months old when my parents moved to Iran). But since a young age I was always interested in speed and engines, and motorcycles were the right, and only, way you could get both for a reasonable price. The fun you have riding a motorcycle can not be obtained in any other legal way. As the saying goes “you never see a motorcycle outside a shrink’s office.” So I have been riding for as long as I can remember.
What was the catalyst for your blog?
I was working in the aviation industry and in the mid 90’s blogging had become the thing to do, so I started a motorcycle blog about my daily rides. It was one word; “boring”. But then I decided to quit the corporate world and do something I really loved, motorcycles and news. So I took my blog, now a news blog, to the next level and concentrated 100% of my time on it. I was one of the first, if not very first independent news blog on motorcycles, so quickly I gained an international audience.
A couple of scopes, and before i knew it, my time was being taken over writing and going on location to make photos. And then other sites and even magazines contacted me for writing some articles, and then magazines outside the motorcycle world asked me to write for them. And before I knew it, I was 100% enrolled in a journalist’s job, and loving every minute of it. Now I write and make photos not only about motorcycles, but also travel & tourism and gadgets.
You’ve lived in 23 countries and speak 10 languages. What has been your experience working with and riding motorcycles around the world? Any unforgettable rides, motorcycles, or adventures you can share?
From childhood I have learned that cultures are different, even in the same country, and trying to get them to understand yours is an uphill battle that you can never win. It was up to me to adapt. The same goes for riding motorcycles. Each bike is different, and needs you to adapt to its behaviour. Riding motorcycle in each country is as different as the eating habits, language and culture in that country. I’ve seen great American riders get into trouble riding in European countries because they did not change their riding style, thinking that their style would have locals adapt to them.
As for unforgettable rides, every ride is unforgettable, but the best ride is always—and I mean always—the next one. The most interesting one was in 2005 when I followed the famous Dakar race on my own motorcycle into Africa. That was epic because of the difficulty levels, scenery and people encountered. Rides in the Italian and Austrian Dolomite mountains are incredible as well, something any biker who has been in the Alps will tell you.
Let me start by saying Pinterest should be outlawed. Kidding… but whenever I go on Pinterest to get inspiration for articles, I mean to go there for a few minutes. And before I know it, my day is over and the night has crept in. I get sucked in by all the incredible photos, and they are not only from motorcycles, but any type. The quality of the photos are top notch, and I can spend hours looking at them.
Often when I have photos of my own that I deem nice enough, I’ll pin them on my own boards, but I rarely feel that they are as good as the ones I see on other boards. But I use Pinterest to get ideas for articles, and usually when I do get one from here, my resulting articles are hits. I love going through the different topics looking at amazing photos. There is so much creativity in the world with people who master their art. Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and amazing discoveries.
For someone looking to get into motorcycles, how and where would you advise them to start?
People who want to start riding must start with a good school. There are no two ways around it, riding motorcycles is dangerous, and many people think it’s easy. They might have been used to riding mopeds, even bicycles, and think a motorcycle is no different. Already the physics of motorcycles is different, but like flying an airplane, you need to be brainwashed in safety drills. Only by going to a proper school will you learn to automatically do the right thing no matter what happens on the road. Anyone who goes riding without proper training is a statistic.
Where is your next dream ride?
I was actually planning to ride to St. Petersburg, Russia but that seems to be off the planning for the time being. I might go back to the Republic of San Marino with my wife (SWMBO in biker terms, She Who Must Be Obeyed) since I was there last year without her, and want her to discover this wonderful place. Riding through France and Italy is always a great ride, full of beautiful scenery, fantastic people and incredible food.